I have an 8800gtx, and I believe it's dying, so I need to replace it but within the $200 range. Any recommendations? And will this card be beefier or equal to what I already have? I prefer to go with a single card, though I have the capability to duo with nvidia.
For under $200 you could go with a new GTX 260 ($179 @ TigerDirect) or an ATI 5770 ($169 @ TigerDirect). NewEgg sells them as well, so you can compare prices and models. There are some $149 ATI 5770's on NewEgg.com but they have fairly basic coolers.
I've got GTX 260's in SLI. But if I had to buy my cards today, I'd likely order an ATI 5770. They are cheaper, perform basically about the same, offer DX11 capability (not that they'd perform great granted), can use Eyefinity if you have the monitors, run cooler, and require less PSU capability.
Only drawback would be I think nVidia generally has better drivers.
Yeah, did some research on the 260 and 5770. Seems the 5770 still has some driver issues, which has been Ati's downfall a lot. I'm not married to either nvidia or Ati, just want the best bang for the buck around $200.
Another related question: I've been thinking of upgrading my MB to one that accepts the icore processors, maybe an i5 CPU, two gigs of ddr3 memory and the GPU. Just because it might be time if I'm shelling out $ anyhow. Does all this work with XP? Or will I need to upgrade to Windows 7? If I need to get the new OS I'll probably just see what life I can get out of what I already have. Maybe switch to the 8400 wolfdale.
The cheapest way to go would be either upgrading to an 8400 or a Q9xxx processor. A Q9xxx quad core with a good OverClock could prove fairly useful in some more modern titles (Bad Company 2). I'd recommend upgrading to 4GB of RAM if you intend to switch to Vista or Windows 7 at any point (and you should really do the 64bit version).
If you want to invest in a more long term upgrade, I'd recommend something along these lines:
Intel i5-750 (quad core, overclocks VERY well)
Windows 7 64bit Home Premium
If you're more budget minded you can do a Phenom II X4 955 with an AMD motherboard instead.
Change to "has" to had, besides pretty rare GSOD problems, I don't see a problem with Catalyst 10.5.
For the new Mobo/CPU, consider either an 955/750 for future proofing and an Athlon X3/x4 for maximum bang for your buck, Anything else isnt as a good buy compare to these two. But all of these would work with XP just fine, the only reason upgrading to Win 7 is it would help you break the 4GB barrier. (or you could get XP64)
Youll also need 4GB of RAM for the 5770, 2GB just isnt enough nowadays.
Finally dont get a E8400, unless its under $80, get a E7500 and OC away.
I realize I'd have to get 4 gigs with Win 7, no big deal. But can't afford the OS right now. What I'm trying to determine is if I should save what I have now - everything else but the GPU is working fine - or, upgrade using the parts I already have. All I would need to get is a MB, processor, ddr 3 memory, GPU and I'm good. I'm fine gaming at the level I am now. Crysis is the only game I can't play at the highest settings that I know of. I still have a kick arse CRT, so I game at 1600 x 1200 atm.